I'm an adult. I have acne. And it's horrible. Every year I think, "When am I going to grow out of this?" I shouldn't be worrying about acne and wrinkles at the same time, that's just unfair.
Unfortunately, good skin isn't something I was blessed with. Actually, I take that back. The rest of my body is amazing. I've never suffered from breakouts anywhere but my face, I don't really bruise and any scar I've ever gotten has basically faded into oblivion. My skin is awesome, until you hit my jawline. And then it all goes downhill. So you know, it's no big deal. It's not like my face is the main area people will notice about me or anything.
I know there's a lot of people out there like me, so I've put together a list of some of the lies I've been told about my acne. So, where shall we start?
1. You're Washing Your Face Wrong
I've been told I'm not washing my face often enough, so the dirt and oils are setting up shop. I've also been told I'm washing my face too often, meaning my skin is producing more oil to make up for it being dry, which then clogs my pores. I've ALSO been told I'm washing my face with the wrong products.
Look, I wish it was that simple. I've followed strict regimens of washing morning and night, and using creams and moisturizers. I've gone through regimens of not washing as often, so that I don't strip my skin of its natural oils. Neither of these worked. In fact, neither of these did a damn thing for my skin. You'd never know I was doing anything different.
And as far as wrong products go, I've used over-the-counter products like Cetaphil and Neutrogena, to natural products like Castile, lye soap or essential oils. I've used prescription washes, creams and antibiotics from the dermatologist. I've taken Accutane, which cleared up my skin while I was on it, but the moment I finished my course I got a huge zit on my cheek. Even my dermatologist responded with, “Seriously?!" You and me both, sister. You and me both.
2. It's Your Diet
AKA you're eating too much sugar, processed food, meat or dairy. Look here you, it's called a pie hole for a reason, and I respect it.
That being said, I give up sugar every year for Lent. All sugars. So, each year I go 40 days without eating any kind of sweetener (not even honey). I usually do this as part of the Daniel Fast, which basically means I live a vegan/paleo diet for that time period.
This year, I did the Daniel Fast for the first 90 days of the year. And guess what? The last week of my fast, I was visited by the Acne Fairy who gave me several awesome zits (big ones) as their own personal thank you for giving up all the foods you love. What an asshole.
I've done everything from giving up sugar, processed food and dairy, all separately, all at the same time, all at different times of my life and there was never any change. I know this works for some people. I know plenty of people who are like, “Oh, I just stopped eating cheese for a month or so, and everything cleared up.” Yeah, well, why don't you go brag to someone else?
3. I'm Not Clean Enough
Yo, I am a complete germaphobe. I used to buy sodas in high school, and my friends would steal them and take a swig because they knew once they did, I would just give it to them. I can't even share drinks/chapstick/what have you with my family members.
I am not a dirty person. I can't even deal with day two hair; I have to wash it daily, or else I freak out. My sheets are clean, my pillowcases are clean, my hair, face and clothes are clean. I just have horrible skin.
I hear a lot about pillowcases. "You're using the wrong kind," "it's not clean enough," "it's the wrong material." Blah, blah, blah. If you think I've been using the same type of pillowcase since I was 13, you are very wrong. I have had satin, silk, cotton, you name it, I've had it. And guess what? Nothing has changed my skin.
4. It's A Hormone Problem
This one I actually believe, just not in regards to my skin. Actually, I believe most of these, but none of them apply to me. And I know there are others who are nodding along to these as well.
I always thought that I had a hormone imbalance. And recently, I found out I have a thyroid problem, which controls your hormones. I thought, "Oh cool, I'll get on this medication, and it will sort out my hormones. Maybe I'll lose a couple pounds, my skin will clear up and I will no longer be dead inside." This was not the case.
It turns out I gained a couple pounds because I was eating like a truck driver, my skin didn't change one iota and I actually may just be dead inside (or just a robot). So basically, my messed up hormones weren't the cause of anything.
5. You Wear Too Much Makeup
Well, isn't this the ultimate catch-22. You have acne because you wear makeup, and you wear makeup to cover up your acne.
Unfortunately, that's not what's causing my acne. When I first moved to the city I live in now, I was unemployed for the summer (it was awesome), so I spent a lot of time at the gym/pool working on my hot bod that no one saw. During this time (about three months) I didn't wear makeup. Occasionally, I would throw some on to go out with my family, but I lived mostly makeup free.
I hoped that this would be the change I needed, but alas, my acne persisted. Here I am, eight years later, and it's still going strong. It doesn't matter if I'm wearing drugstore makeup, full coverage foundation made for acne, something light like BareMinerals or nothing at all. My acne is indestructible.
And I'm going to wear my makeup to cover it up because I am self conscious about it. And if that bothers some people, well, I'm not sorry at all.
6. You Just Need To Dry It Out
I love this one. People think you should just dry out your face, and then the oils won't settle in. Go to the tanning beds, they say. Lay out in the sun, they say. It'll cure everything, they say.
Like I said before, I spent an entire summer sans makeup at the pool, and sure, I walked away with a killer tan, but I was still wearing just as much makeup to cover up these demon hills that are all over my face.
I've also heard the opposite: The sun/tanning beds are actually making your skin worse. Well, while I've spent the entire summer poolside before, I've also stayed locked away in a dark office for years at a time (oh, the perks of working with computers for a living), and nothing changed. Surprise, surprise.
In conclusion, don't point out, talk about or stare at a someone's acne. My family loves to say I'm too pretty to have such bad skin. They also like to point out that I'm “27 and still getting acne, huh?” Yeah, I am, and I f*cking hate it.
Pointing it out feels like an attack. I know you don't mean it that way, but I've literally tried everything, and I don't know what to do at this point. Please, let it go. Don't point it out. We know it's there. It blows. And sometimes, there's just nothing else we can do to sort it out.
But that's OK.
Because while it may suck, and while I wish my skin would be radiant and glowing like my personality, it's not. And I can't let that stop me from anything. One day, I'll find the solution that works for me, and I'll share it with everyone. But until then, toss me that full coverage foundation, and stop pointing out my zits to me.